ENVISIONING A BRIGHTER FUTURE YOUNGSTOWN OHIO CHRIS HELWIG CHRIS MAURER LUKE ZELLER XU ZHANG THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE
ABOUT THE PROJECT Focusing on three individual community projects, work was made to improve the sites in increments which can be implemented over the long term. This project focused on assessing the issues at each site and developing ideas that are believed to have the most positive impact on the community framework. After focusing on small scale projects, ideas that could benefit the entirety of Youngstown were examined. A site was selected along the river near the downtown core of Youngstown that would bring impact to all Youngstown residents. The areas aim to promote community engagement, personal ownership social interaction through the implementation of ecology, recreational opportunities, and details of Youngstownâ€™s history in hopes of inspiring Youngstown residents to become involved in Youngstownâ€™s revitalization effort. The project also serves as a basic strategy for implementing small scale projects that would eventually form what would become a large-scale project.
HANDELâ€™S CORNER An abandoned gas station at the Youngstown-Boardman edge, the space offers opportunities for a welcoming gateway into Youngstown. The open space can also encourgae community involvement through the implementation of a farmers market.
WICK PARK Once a thirving community park, the corner plaza of Wick Park now stands empty. The goal of the project is to return this space to the community through the incorporation of community gardens and re-imagined plaza spaces.
CRANDALL PARK SOUTH This historic neighborhood in Youngstown seeks to strengthen its image and create a stong, cohesive community identity along a streetscape bordering a major vechicular corridor.
HANDEL’S CORNER The goal of the Handel’s Corner project is to create a welcoming gateway into the City of Youngstown from the suburb of Boardman, creating an open space that acts as a physical representation of Youngstown’s vision for the future - a redeveloped, revitalized city. Being the first visual image visitors will get of Youngstown, the space will help to improve the citiy’s image and enhance the local quality of life. In order to help revitalize the site and promote the new image of Youngstown, the site will incorporate large amounts of open space which can be used for community gahering events such as farmer’s markets, public movies, fundraising, etc. By allowing these activities to occur at the gateway into Youngstown, a sense of community engagement and stewardship is showcased.
DESIGN + PHASING In Phase One of the project, a number of planters will be cleaned and refurbished, allowing new grass and trees to be planted in order to bring the street edge to life. Small fences will also be featured in these areas in order to provide screening from the road. The center planting bed will feature a new “Welcome to Youngstown” sign, which will mark the edge of the city of Youngstown and provide visitors with a new gateway into downtown. Phase Two will attempt to take full advantage of the vacant corner lot - which is the former site of a gas station. The existing asphalt and broken, exposed building foundation will be re-imagined and re-used to create an open space that the community can use for a farmer’s market or other events. The existing asphalt will be cut into a new geometric form which will create two asphalt “islands” with a large open gravel area in the center. Keeping the space open and flat will provide ample opportunities for social events such as the establishment of a temporary farmers market. Cutting horizontally through the site are three strips of meadow grasses - which will require minimal upkeep and maintenance once installed - whose form mimics DNA code. Just as our DNA gives us information about ourselves, the same symbolic form gives information about the underlying character and history of Youngstown.
WICK PARK A historic area surrounded by some of the most affluent homes in Youngstown, Wick Park has fallen upon hard times. The park is not currently utilized to its fullest extent, as users of the park feel threatened and uneasy about groups of people that are currently using ther corner as an area to drink in public. To combat this use, design that incorporates community interaction is necessary.
DESIGN + PHASING The first phase, which is currently being implemented, involves restoring the 6x6 timbers that provide the terraced form of the existing park. Small plots of herbs, flowers and other vegetation will be planted, breathing new life into the unused space. Phase one also involves the implementation of new pathways that will help link the garden plots to the parkâ€™s existing circulation systems. Phase 2 will involve the implementation of a community garden on the site of a former playground in the park. Future Phases include plans to construct a small, community sitting area adjacent to the sidewalk which aims to give users a private space to relax that is separate from the parkâ€™s core - allowing the fountain area to once again become open and inviting for visitors.
Community Garden The garden, which is to be managed by community members, includes both native wildflowers and vegetables that bring color to the corner of the park. The area includes a rainbarrel that collects rainfall for use in maintaining the garden. The area also includes lights which illuminate the area and provide visitors with a sense of security even after night has fallen.
Community Plaza Also flanking the central plaza, a community plaza provides moveable seating and stationary tables for a multitude of community events and activities. From parties to chess tournaments, the area is easily accessible and slightly private from other park areas. The plaza also includes lights to illuminate the space allowing for nighttime activities.
CRANDALL PARK SOUTH In order to encourage community engagement, we propose that the streetscape of this historic neighborhood should be managed and implemented simultaneously. The involvement in the construction and management process will help foster the sense of community and maintain a pleasant visual identity for the neighborhood. Community stewardship is a vital part of the design as each homeowner is responsible for maintaining their respective section of the designed area, adding a sense of personal value and neighborhood ownership for residents.
DESIGN + PHASING Area Blow Up
Planter Location 1 Planter Location 2
In Phase 1, small planting beds will be installed at each corner, adding a sense of unity and datum to the neighborhood. These planters aim to create points of focus along the linear corridor which establish physical and visual connections at certain intersections throughout the neighborhood. Common features such as plantings and mulching material will establish visual connections. The Second Phase of the Crandall Park South Street Identity project aims to create a unified streetscape for the historic neighborhood in Youngstown. By highlighting the linear tree lawn spaces along the street, a visual link is created throughout the neighborhood. The experience is amplified for drivers, as a waving, undulating line of perennials is weaved throughout the linear space.
Area Blow Up
Lot Division Line
Managed area of the property owner
Lot Division Line
Lot Division Line
Community Engagement In order to encourage community engagement, we propose this whole area to be managed and implemented together. The involvement in the construction and management process will help foster the sense of community and better maintain the planting bed.
Experience While the corners play an important role in creating the neighborhood identity, some might argue that the linear driving experience also plays an even more important part. We propose the planting of a wavy wild flower bed throughout the tree lawns of Fifth Avenue to create a unique and unified edge identity for the neighborhood.
Since the collapse of the steel industry of the 1970s, Youngstown has struggled to maintain its image as a thriving city. This once proud area has fallen into decay and is littered with vacancy, leaving the landscape broken and fragmented. In an attempt to revitalize Youngstown and strengthen its image, small scale work is being done to combat vancancy and blight. However, the seemingly scattered nature of these projects is not promoting a strong base upon which revitalization can occur. We propose that current use of grant money be restructured into a long term plan to create a new urban core for the city of Youngstown. By aggregating small projects along the waterfront, a new, vbrant downtown public space will be created with the goal of accelerating the renewal of Youngstown.
MAHONING PARK BESSEMER FIELD INDUSTRIAL PARK RAIL LINE
CONCEPT While the current application of grants is being put to good use, the majority of the projects seem to be scattered throughout Youngstownâ€™s vacant parcels. In order to develop a unified public space that can jump-start the revitalization of the cityâ€™s core, we propose that grants should act as building blocks with which larger more centralized, unified projects can be built. These building blocks will eventually aggregate to compose large scale projects that can reshape the image of Youngstown and prevent landscape fragmentation.
IMPLEMENTATION In order to promote the process of creating space through the aggregation of grants, we propose that modular units based on Points, Lines and Planes be designed and implemented throughout the site. Points consist of elements such as benches, light fixtures, signage, vegetation, etc. Lines may consist of designed features such as paths, walls, landforms, etc. Planes will consist of designed areas which cover large surfaces such as plazas, lawns, meadows and fields.
POINTS LINES PLANES
DISTRIBUTION OF GRANT MONEY
PHASING PLAN Starting from the downtown core of Youngstown and working its way outward, projects will be incrementally implemented over a period of approximately 35 years to create a large scale urban waterfront corridor that benefits all citizens and visitors. The project will start at the site adjacent to the Covelli Center and evolve to include the open fields of the former Bessemer site. The design will then move towards the abondoned railroad corridors, creating a large, cohesive linear park along the banks of the Mahoning River which serves to strengthen the urban core of Youngstown.
Phase 2 of the Rail Line is implemented Rail Line is complete
Phase 1 of the Rail Line is implemented Includes Amtrak station upgrades and Rail Line Gateway PlazaRail Line is complete
Canal Park is complete
Phase 2 of the Industrial Park is implemented Industrial Park is complete
Phase 1 of the Industrial Park is implemented
The Bessemer Recreation Fields are complete
Phase 2 of Covelli Park is implemented Covelli Park is complete
Phase 1 of Covelli Park is implemented
MAHONING PARK Mahoning Park is located adjacent to the Covelli Center - one of the gems of downtown Youngstown. This site offers ample opportunites for recreational activities and relaxation within walking distance of the city center. With such close proximity to the downtown, the park will be the focal point from which the urban core of Youngstown can begin to thrive once again. Large, open public spaces along the banks of the Mahoning River create a space unlike any other in Youngstown. The park is intended to function as the â€œhubâ€? of the greater masterplan for the Mahoning River waterfront. With easy access to downtown Youngstown, the Covelli Center and various industrial sites, the park offers a myriad of points from which future expansion can occur.
Materials The park will feature a minimalistic design, with sculpted turf covered landform, unique wooden seating, concrete and gravel pathways and reclaimed steel products from the local area.
Ecology With an existing stormwater management basin on site, the park will feature a variety of ecological features. The stormwater basin will be redesigned as a fully functioning wetland, and the Mahoning River floodplain will be reinvigorated and showcased. Wildflower meadows and fallow fields can also be implemented over large areas at fairly cheap prices.
BESSEMER FIELDS Although there is a large amount of vacant land that currently exists in Youngstown, there are limited areas where people can enjoy recreational activities safely and comfortably. Currently a large under-utilized parcel of land - Bessemer Field - is a prime location for a city recreational area. Large open fields serve multiple uses and trail networks allow people to move safely and easily. Meadows that incorporate native species surround the field, provide color and hide the empty lots surrounding the field. This area is meant to function as a public recreational area where citizens of Youngstown can feel safe in their outdoor environment. The park accomodates a variety of functions, from pickup sports games to jogging trails, even sunbathing and bird watching
Composition The area is largely left open and can be developed quickly. Gravel pathways create a trail network for easy movement throughout, grass seed creates fields that can serve activities from football to sunbathing. Natural plantings seperate the park from unsafe areas which surround the site and create small natural areas. A disc golf course encircles the site and can be easily implemented Ecology Natural meadow areas include native species that provide color throughout the year. Birdhouses can easily be constructed to provide a habitat to birds and provide activities such as birdwatching.
INDUSTRIAL PARK Peopleâ€™s emotions toward the history of steel production in Youngstown are complicated. On one hand there is a sense of pride with steel making that brought prosperity to the town, yet on the other hand there is a sense of melancholy about the deterioration and recession in the economy with the industry going away. The design focuses on preserving and celebrating the precious memory of the industrial era while at the same time embracing future development, bringing people in community together and regenerating a sense of pride in their city. Instead of leaving the buildings desolate and deteriorating, bringing new uses and functions to the building is one of revitalizing the area. The new 2010 new master plan seeks to define its role in the new regional economy and raised the possibility of becoming an art and entertainment center. The site provide excellent ground for arts and creative activities, from repurposing the factory into art studios or exhibition space, the site has great possibility of becoming an center for the creative industries.
The Wall of Memory
Keeping the structure of the industrial building could create an outdoor activity area where people could interact with the historical sites, and enhance the emotional bond with the industrial history.
Although the steel production industry had disappeared from Youngstown, the sense of pride associated with the history and the diligent, tenacious spirits of the steel mill workers should not be erased. To celebrate and perpetuate the history, we suggest creating a wall with features arousing the memory of the history and the workers, such as the names of the workers.
Landform Youngstown has great resources for human labor. In order to add interest to the relatively flat side, we propose creating a knoll along the rail line, where people could have an unobstructed view of the river and place the wall of memory on the apex of knoll.
RAIL LINE This concept focuses on re-using the existing abandoned industrial rail lines that run throughout Youngstownâ€™s core. These old rail lines will be reclaimed for use as a public recreation corridor that also serves to educate the community about ecological processes, pay homage to Youngstownâ€™s rich Industrial past and encourage the future growth and interconnectivity of the city. The existing rail lines will be utilized through conversion into pedestrian and light vehicular walkways. In order to prevent injury and provide a safe user experience, the existing tracks must be filled with an outside material. Large or small aggregate or gravel, sand, wood and concrete fillers are feasible solutions
Re-Use Built upon the foundations and structures of existing industrial railroad bridges, the corridor showcases some of Youngstownâ€™s historic structures and pays homage to the rich industrial past of the city.
The corridor acts as a linking space on which walkers, runner and bikers can move easily, safely and quickly through the city. The corridor also brings users back to the water of the Mahoning RIver, reestablishing an important link to the foundation of Youngstowns development.
THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE CHRIS HELWIG CHRIS MAURER LUKE ZELLER XU ZHANG SEAN BURKHOLDER ASSISTANT PROFESSOR
Three proposed designs for vacant lots in Youngstown, Ohio as well as a conceptual framework upon which the redevelopment of Youngstown's ur...